Thursday, October 28, 2010

Money in Poetry/ ZYZZYVA Poem/Howard Junker Tribute/Raskin Chapbook/New Spitzer Paintings/Gary Snyder Sleeping 1963/

Do exceptions disprove the rule?


















Winter issue of ZYZZYVA










Small Tribute to Howard Junker

Howard Junker's vision "over many a
summer" as editor of the iconic
ZYZZYVA is legendary. So, sadly, I
report that Howard, in the Winter
2010 issue, proclaims, "this is my swan
song" and that he is turning over the
editorship. However, having turned over
a thing or two recently myself, I know
that Howard will make rich use of his
new-found time. I don't know how good a
poem it is, but my "Last Suppers In Texas"
is the last poem in Howard's final edition as
editor of ZYZZYVA. Thank you, Howard, not
only for honoring my poem but for showcasing
the work of so many wonderful west coast
authors over these "many a summer."



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Jonah Raskin's New Chapbook Auras


Black

The thread that
connects the living
to the dying,
the blackness
inside the whale
that swallowed the prophet,
the color that became prophetic itself,
that engulfed the sinful cities and
all their woeful sinners.

The blackness of the
whip and the chain,
the richness of blackness,
blackberries,
eaten one by one in the
delicious darkness of
the night
by the solitary visitor
from beyond the
midnight hour
who came out of the grave,
in tatters and rags,
with the smell of the grave
on his breath,
who took away
our daily light,
showed us the black letters
on the white page and
all the mercenaries stored in
the blackness of libraries,
(American blackness)
that is loveable and hate-able
that can’t be washed away,
or bleached out,
that’s the blues
on the radio that
bleeds the heart,
makes the heart beat
blacker, wilder,
with the taste of
bittersweet blackness.


To get a copy 0f Auras, send a check for $5 made out to Jonah Raskin and mailed to Raskin, Coms Dept. SSU, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, CA. 94928. Make sure to include your address!

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Copies of New Jim Spitzer Original Acrylics















For Sale

jimspitzer@lycos.com

or visit the studio at
4524 Badger Rd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

707-538-4640
























































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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hypatia of Alexandria/Madgalene on Hip-Hop/Eddie Boy





Hypatia of Alexandria


She is after all only a woman, thus is she taken over
by what men refer to as a mere idea.
However she, Hypatia, as woman, contains and embraces
this idea as her own and has given to it birth,
makes the idea fully her own darling while men, particularly holy men,
cannot fathom the beingness of this basal conception,
the very texture of this woman’s selfhood.

Imagine yourself a Greek Christian man
here in the early 5th century.
Hypatia, daughter of an Alexandrian mathematician,
espousing a uniquely threatening view of harmony as her own
as if she had any right to own anything when such a blasphemy
would fancy a self with rights like ownership.
But what these Christian men really despise more than reason is
just how cocksure Hypatia pretends to be when, as a scientist,
she “confuses” harmony with oneness and declares the one,
the neo-platonist one, to be something
personal and dwelling within her.
So they brand her a “pagan.”
The saintly Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria,
declares himself to be without choice, but choice after all
is a matter of ownership, something though forbidden women,
Cyril himself relishes like gold leaf, covering himself amply with it.

It is much simpler to gull men
by planting paganism’s pretension to godhood
in the corpse of this woman Hypatia
by eliminating her debauched effigy
completely forever by incineration
after furiously pulling her from her chariot,
denuding her, cutting her with shells into pieces
and finally burning these shards of Hypatia
who not only symbolizes but who is fully
in harmony with herself, who owns her oneness,
who knows all ideas to be part of who she is,
this basic uncompromising lamentably unknown but
fully knowing woman.


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David Madgalene sent me this thoughtful piece. I've added the Nas video in order to help those of you who aren't into rap and may need the audio-visual aid. But also, if you're hip to hop, enjoy anyway.

Here's Nas with "HipHop Is Dead"


The Salvation of Hip Hop
by David Madgalene (October 6, 2010)

Hip Hop has been the only true defense of rhyme and meter in my lifetime. I’m sorry, but the New Formalists have failed to make their case. However, ironically, perhaps, during the administration of our first Hip Hop President, Hip Hop appears to be dying, if, indeed, it’s not already dead, as Nas and others have already proclaimed. There is nothing unusual or untoward in this since branches of Popular Music seem to run in thirty-year cycles before exhausting themselves. For example, the 20s were the Jazz Age, the 30s were the Swing Era, and the 40s was the Big Band Era. Although be bop and cool jazz and a number of other innovations followed in the late forties and after, Jazz could never again claim to be the popular music. Rock and Roll was the Popular Music in the 50s, and Rock was the popular music of the 60s and ‘70s (at least, until, perhaps the coming of Disco).

The Eighties are problematic. 80s’ Rock was a Rock clearly in decline. R & B, nor Country, never was the popular music. I can’t make a case for Dance Music, since the leading exemplars of Dance Music, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince, made so many records that weren’t Dance Music. Although Hip Hop may or may not have been the bona-fide popular music of the 80s, I have no recourse but to champion it in this light since it was the only popular music that, in the 80s, was in its ascendency, and not decline. So I’m proposing the first great seminal outpouring of Hip Hop coming out of the New York in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s by the late ‘80s becomes the Popular Music (for my purposes, and in lieu of any true contenders), and, the Popular Music, which, in its turn, is reinvented via the mid ‘90s by the West Coast Rappers, and then is reinvented yet again in the early years of the New Millennium by Eninem, who, in the agony of his genius albeit his pathology, unwittingly captures the horrific zeitgeist of the Bush II-Cheney years.

The star-making apparatus of Hip Hop is broken, and, I think, very few, if any of us, will mourn the passage of corporate-sponsored Hip Hop. My concern is not so much the salvation of Hip Hop as the opportunity that now presents itself for poets for all kinds. I propose that Hip Hop now abandon the archaic and anachronistic rhyme and meter. I propose a Free Verse Poetics Hip Hop. And, taking my cue from World Music in specific and World Hip Hop in particular, I propose an influx of world, but in especial, Latino rhythms to provide the beats (if any beats can support Free Verse Hip Hop, then it must be Latino beats). I am thinking of all genres of World Latino music, and would dismiss none out of hand, however, I am, honestly, most especially thinking of Afro-Cuban beats...although I am also enamored of the possibilities presented by the proposition of a Free Verse Poetics Hip Hop Flamenco.

Followers of Latino Hip Hop know that I am suggesting nothing new since there are already Spanish language proponents of such nascent genres. What I am suggesting that perhaps is new, at least in theory if not necessarily practice, is for Poets of all languages, but not just English and Spanish, to adopt Latino rhythms for audio presentations of their poems. I do not discourage poets from making videos of their Free Verse Latino Beat Hip Hop, but I prefer, at least for now, that the basis on our new poetics and Hip Hop be firmly rooted in what we hear and not what we see!

Now I know that some of my Latino Rapper friends may take exception with these remarks. “Who is this gringo who seeks to appropriate my culture and give it away for nothing?” I can almost hear them ask. Well, friends, when you have something that’s so hot, then it no longer belongs to you, it belongs to the world. Yes, it’s true, African-Americans invented Jazz and the Blues and Rock and Roll and Hip Hop and just about every other form of Popular Music, but, in time, these musics became the true property of the world. And who more than Latinos have benefited from Jazz? And, yes, friends, even us gringos, normally known as being so rapacious (and perhaps rightly so), nonetheless, have we gringos not given the world Shakespeare and Bob Dylan and Aesop and the Beatles and Abba, just to name a few?

In other words, forget everything you know! Especially, forget everything you know about Hip Hop and Poetry! What if Hip Hop were nothing but a 30-year prelude to the Renaissance of Poetry as the People’s Popular Art? The “higher Vaudeville” that Vachel Lindsay imagined, but did not live to see? The answer is Free Verse Poetics Hip Hop with Latino Beats!

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I've long been attracted to fruit crate labels, so I decided to paint my own changing a more typical "Andy Boy" to "Eddie Boy." I hope you like these plus another painting or two, all of which, of course are f0r sale. Titles in order are "Apples," "Orange," "Evolving," and "Paddle."














































































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Sunday, September 05, 2010

William Blake/SF Examiner Article/7 Coletti Paintings (For Sale!)


William Blake on Things Getting Better for Job (and Me too!)

From my experience, I'm more than inclined to agree with Blake that life gets better even in the occasional case of "that spoilsport voice in my head."






20 more years

when I brushstroke a painting
or improve a poetic image

when I realize just how much I love you
how much less I’d be without you

when my son calls me to beer and a pizza
when from nowhere good wishes cascade,

that spoilsport voice in my head
begins chiding, “you’ve got only 20 more years.”

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San Francisco Examiner Article - take a look







Paintings By Ed Coletti for sale edcoletti@sbcglobal.net



("Molten," "Lakeside," "Dead Fish," "More Dead Fish," "Pagliaccio," "Untitled," and "Evolving")









Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Assimilation/New Hastings Book/Mayer's Unsung&Unknown/Greg Fuchs



Assimilation



Eat your eyes for breakfast every morning.

This differs from Dali and Buñuel

slicing the eyeball to see differently.

This is ingesting the tools of vision,

eyes ceasing their work as portals,

begin to labor subject to digestion’s churning.


Fully mixed with urgent acids,

eyes transformed to soup

release nutrition into blood which, rising to the brain,

resumes its seeing newly

charged with matter from assimilation.


(Ed Coletti in Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review)


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New From Katherine Hastings


Updraft (Finishing Line Press - order at www.finishinglinepress.com)







Katherine Hastings is one of the most impressive poets writing in America today. Her poetry astonishes by the metaphysical clarity of the images from daily life and the intellectual power of her wit. Her affection for the living and her compassion for the dead vividly depict the world as it is while allowing her to project the freedom of transforming love. The language shimmers; the endings shine; the book announces a brilliant talent.

F.D Reeve, Author of The Toy Soldier and Other Poems and The Blue Cat Walks the Earth.

Here is a brief selection from Katherine Hastings' Updraft:


White Horse


Through the woods of Annadel,
past trees gently arched,
trunks and stones moss-matted --
comes the fair stallion steady on the trail

One angel on a treetop sings
one note, repeated,
repeated
Milky surface of stream,
little wall of water
falling into it,
and the white horse
coming nearer
with a steady sound
beating under the boughs
in the darkness of woods
as if by magic
moving towards
to where, upon the ribbed edge,
he passes
trails a veil of light
that shakes us
as though wind
as though ecstasy

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Following the back and forth we've had recently about methods of "judging" poems and who, among the critics and publishers are discovering the truly great poems,(see below Inviting Readers to Comment on "The New Math of Poetry" by David Alpaugh) it was my good fortune to come upon Andrew Mayer's take on this subject and others in the following poem.

In Praise of the Great Unsung Unknown Poets


by Andrew Mayer


Imagine you’re there when Rumi dances to the Friend,
spinning poem after poem not yet written down,
words formed by a Great Unsung Unknown Poet
dancing into verse the air you breathe.

Enjoy the inspirations, observations, visions, and revelations,
insights and beauty exquisite in compositions
of Great Unsung Unknown Poets.

Living on in the spirit of Frank O’Hara’s great poems
scribbled on napkins, discovered after death in his drawers and cabinets,
Unsung Unknown Poets writing great verses,
awesome discoveries and powerful rants kept under wraps in handmade gift books
to a few friends, or scribbled in notebooks unseen
for personal art filled with tremendous talent
or self-published in cheap chapbooks or limited edition printings of paperbacks,
or revealed at open readings and spurious slams.

Unknown poets preoccupied with day jobs driving taxis
or teaching toddlers to sing, or driving semi trucks full of frozen foods
to Tonapah, Red Wing, Tehachapi, Reno, Truckee and Tahoe while reciting poetry
on the road late at night to stay awake. Poets on the night shift
nursing at the hospital or security guarding garbage trucks at the dump,
waiting tables at all night diners, or changing diapers and soothing baby’s tears
in the middle of the night and the heart of day.

Pay attention to the great poems of Unsung Unknown Poets,
victims of unfair economics, or overwhelming life responsibilities,
of shyness, social phobias, fear of failure or success,
distaste for business, disorganization, or just plain lack of motivation,
depression, exhaustion, children and family demands, or addictions,

unkown poets with terrific sonnets,
haikus, raps, villanelles and quiet reflections all written better
than the anthologies that shun them, publishing circles of friends
in cliques and clubhouses of certain styles and academic territorial turf war protectors.

So drop your judgmental inner critics
and external egos of accomplishments
and just listen to the great poems
by unsung unknown poets unpublished by prominent distributors.
and support their efforts with a donation, buy their chapbook, visit their website,
share kind words and give them hugs to show your appreciation.

So many forgotten voices of unknown great poets
lost out of posterity,
but their great poems
live on in the minds
of readers and listeners
and the surprised hearts of browsers, perusers,
and poetry loving passers-by.

So listen to the great poetry around you,
uncredentialed, uncertified, even unrefined
but powerfully true and beautiful,
by Great Unsung Unknown Poets.

Notice intricate innovations and true to life stories
by Great Unsung Unknown Poets
whose poems live long in your mind,
move your heart throughout time
transforming your life,

that poetry you love in the moment
with potential unlimited
from the Great Unsung Unknown Poets.



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Mother's Day
by Greg Fuchs

From the Venus of Willendorf to Kiki Smith

You are totally now, even if others seem more now,

Now is inclusive: the center & the margin

The profitable & the not, the sublime, ridiculous, & grotesque

In the golden house beneath the clouds lives mother nature

From which all beings spring holding within all feelings

Of creation & annihilation like Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave

Holds abstraction & representation in the beginning

I fall in love with you over & over again through time

Like when you casually describe speleology in France

Amidst Uncle Baby’s thrift store art collection

Simply without pretension, totally natural

Your beautiful son is a reflection of you

Even when he loves the sun by frowning upon the moon


Greg Fuchs who wrote this intelligently beautiful poem is a NYC poet and friend.



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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Gil Fagiani/Jim Carroll/Poetry Azul/The New Math of Poetry/

Here's the long-awaited collection of his early works from that great poetic voice of the barrio, my cousin, Gil Fagiani



"Out of the squishy swamp of dead personal lyrics that is contemporary American poetry, Gil Fagiani's hard-boned zombies rise out of his poetry collection, A Blanquito in El Barrio. His poems of a white junkie in East Harlem are crafty narratives that sing the music of sex, compassion, friendship justice, mercy, comedy, betrayal, dope and more dope. Fagiani is a poet of unusual power. These poems have strong heart and deep soul.
A Blanquito in El Barrio is that rare good thing name— a necessary good book."

— Angelo Verga, poet, author of
A Hurricane Is, 33 NYC Poems, and Praise For What Remains



CUCHIFRITOS

by Gil Fagiani

I had the sizzle in my chisel for Nilsa,
dug her big eyes, moist, meaty lips,
color and curves like sculpted teakwood.
One night I took her to Papo's Cuchifritos.
She'd been playing hard to get all summer long
and I figured a belly full of spicy pig parts and fritters

might open her up to other bodily pleasures.

I'd eaten cuchifritos once before
after a night of blowing weed
and tossing down Bacardi with Manny and Count
the former president and warlord of a local street gang
--"We even had our own social worker "--Count boasted.
We'd finished harmonizing such doo wop classics
as "Deserie," "Wind" and "Gloria,"
under the archway of the Park Avenue El
when Count pulled out a wad of bills
--birthday money, he claimed--and said,
"let's grit at Papo's," a cuchifrito joint on 116th Street.

Beneath blazing light bulbs over front window metal bins,
Count pointed to orejas, rabitos, morcillas,
acapurias, pastelillos, rellenos de papa.
Juggling white cardboard boxes dripping cooking oil,
we sat on car fenders and ate pig's ears, pig tails,
blood sausages, fritters and meat-filled potato balls.

The swagger of that night stayed with me
as Nilsa and I walked into Papo's
and copped squats on steel shiny stools.
I pointed to half a dozen bins
and soon cuchifritos were piled high in front of us.
Before I could pick up my fork
Nilsa grabbed a fire-red bottle
and bathed a bacalaito--codfishfritter--
with Louisiana hot sauce devouring it in three bites.
Then she picked up the tip of an oreja
and began to chew on the rubbery cartilage,
her teeth making loud crunching sounds.

Next she chowed down on two blood sausages
thick and black as a policeman's club.
Then she picked up a fried pig's tail
and ate it like an ice cream cone,
strips of pork sticking out the side of her mouth,
lips a blaze of yellow grease.
I sat quietly nibbling on a potato ball.
"What's the matter, no tiene hambre —
you're not hungry?
I smiled as a drum roll by Tito Puente
blasted from the jukebox,
Nilsa keeping time by tapping
her knife against the side of her water glass.

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Never learn too well the works of a poet,

for, somehow, the works of the masters have

infiltrated the systems of those who are

dangerous and covert. They have turned lines of

beauty and love into codes of identification.

Security is maintained in the detection of

a flawed meter, and messages of coercion and betrayal are delivered in iambics.


- Jim Carroll - "Homage to Gerard Manley Hopkins"


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Inviting Readers to Comment on "The New Math of Poetry" by David Alpaugh


A good friend sent me this thought-provoking article from The Chronicle (of higher education) Review, February 21, 2010. Alpaugh's essay continues a theme that has been discussed here in No Money In Poetry, not only by myself but by such luminaries as Richard Silberg, Michael Rothenberg, and David Madgalene. Additonally, many readers have commented on the theme and its issues. I invite all readers to take a look and express your own comments on the basic question of whether or not there can ever be too much poetry published and also what might be done about the world not losing hidden gems. Here's a link to the full article followed by several excerpts.


"...Those in charge of undergraduate and MFA programs have cast themselves in the role of poetry-writing cheerleaders who are busy assuring tens of thousands of students that they are talented poets who should expect their work not only to be published but to win awards as well." (Ed: "There are worse problems.")


"...More than 100,000 poems will be published in 2010." (Ed: "OK")


"...Scribner's Best American Poetry...The notion that a guest editor or team of screeners would read 100,000 poems is absurd. A look at the journals BAP routinely draws from gives a good clue as to methodology.In BAP 2008 , for example, just 10 of 2,000-plus journals and magazines available for consideration accounted for 37 of the 75 poems selected --49 percent....The probability that such a sliver of journals would continue to yield the lion's share of the "best" American poetry year after year were objectivity in play is unlikely.


"Given that guest editors are faced with the impossibility of reading even a fraction of the poetry being published, it should not shock us if they favor the work of students, friends, and colleagues. (Ed: Now Alpaugh is on to something and continues the theme.)


"...Of course, many literary journals and presses don't bother to nominate -- especially if they've noticed this zinger at the end of Pushcart's dexcription of its modus operandi: 'We also accept nominations from our staff of distinguished Contributing Editors.' There are a whopping 232 of them listed for 2009, most employed by college writing programs.


"No surprise that 28 of the 30 poets in the 2009 edition chosen by the creative-writing professors Phillis Levin and Thomas Lux are college teachers or retirees, in most cases from writing departments...One 'winner' boasts a nomination by his wife (she uses her maiden name).


"Keep in mind that, when it comes to the new math of poetry, we can see only the tip of the iceberg. Unfathomable are the countless self-published chapbooks and collections printed each year, to say nothing of the millions of personal Web sites, blogs, and Facebook pages where self-published poetry appears. (Ed: Don't worry, Alpaugh is not going for snobbery here. I like what follows.) I remind readers who believe that such poetry can be dismissed unread that William Blake self-published his Songs of Innocence and Experience, Walt Whitman his Leaves of Grass, A.E. Houseman his A Shropshire Lad, and that many of the poets who appear in prestigious journals today routinely self-publish their chapbooks." (Ed: And why not? Lot of exciting stuff in those pages!)


"The most common rebuttal to this critique can best be summed up as 'The more the merrier.' Instead of complaining about an embarrassment of trinkets, we should shout, 'hallelujah!' Doesn't the test of time always separate the silver and gold from the dross so that great poetry can emerge, if not for current readers, then for future ones?"


"My answer is that time has never been asked to test the astounding number of poems being published today, let alone what promises to be published in the future." (Ed: Well the article is about "math" after all.)


"...Perhaps the most sinister fact about the new math of poetry is that it allows the academic oligarchy that controls poetry to impose a non aesthetic, self-serving scoring system without attracting notice or raising indignation. (Ed: I am becoming indignant!) Since no one can possibly read the vast number of poems being published, professionals can ignore independent poets and reserve the goodies -- premiere readings, publications, honors, financial support -- for those fortunate enough to be housed inside the professional poetry bubble." (Ed: As I was transcribing this, I had to look back, did Alpaugh write "bubble" or "brothel"?)


"Marginalizing independent poets and the diversity of life experience they bring to poetry may help bolster MFA - teaching careers; but how healthy is it for the art? Almost all of the world's great poetry has been written by independents, and most of the poets writing today (myself included) remain unaffiliated with any institution. Still, when it comes to the major awards and premier publication essential for wide readership, there seems to be little room at the top for independents. Apparently 'Where does this poet teach?' is an easier question for committees to answer that 'How good is his or her poetry?' (Kay Ryan, poet laureate of the United States, is the exception who proves the rule.) (Ed: Absolutely! And, when Kay was appointed, I wondered how they had found her who we knew so very well here in the North Bay and how justice actually had been done.)


(Ed: Here comes the best part!)


"If Robert Frost's 'The Road Not Taken' were published next week by The New Formalist, Alan Ginsberg's 'Howl' by Gnome: the online journal of underground writing, and Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy' by Women Writers: A Zine, but none of those three poets held teaching posts in creative-writing departments, I'd wager that their poems would not appear in The Best American Poetry 2010 or The Pushcart Prize XXXIV or make it into a Norton anthology. Three of America's most widely read, genuinely loved poems would be published -- but the event would be more like a funeral than a birth.


"...Every now and then someone asks me, 'Who are the best poets writing today?' My answer? 'I have no idea.' Nor do I believe that anyone else does. I do have an uneasy feeling that a Blake and a Dickinson may be buried in the overgrowth, and I fear that neither current nor future readers may get to enjoy their art. That would be the most devastating result of the new math of poetry. The loss would be incalculable.


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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ed's Jazz Gods/Henry Miller/Ideas For Readings/

A couple of poems from
the most recent book from
Round Barn Press


Jazz Gods by Ed Coletti (January 2010)

Now available at
the San Francisco Beat Museum

or

by sending $9. (includes return postage) to

Jazz Gods, 2134 Vintage Circle, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
. I'll immediately send an autographed cy.



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just one of those things
(for charlie parker)


simply another


thing

just one of
those crazy

things

purely one more of
those crazy
gossamer
wing-thing
bells-ring

things

you keep on
blowing out there,

bird!




Ornette #3 R.P.D.D.

knife blade shine
scratching meat off bone

riffing riffing
all round that bone
white and pink with bone meat
separating from solidity

switch blade of a saxophone
slashing sculpting
round and round
all round that bone



Some Previous Round Barn Press Chapbooks
Richard Krech - Some Global Positioning Dharma
Rychard Denner - Calendar of the Moon
Ed Coletti - Peace Planters & Family Matters
David Madgalene (photo) - Kali
Justin Adkins - Dream Climber
Bill Vartnaw - Postcards




...I revisited an old friend of mine, a painter in Paris.
He is definitely not what one would call a successful artist.
He is still painting in the same miserable
garret as of yore; his studio looks more like a rat's net than the workshop of an artist.
His style of painting hasn't changed appreciably since the days
when I first knew him - thirty or more years ago. All he needs by way of subject matter,
according to his own words, are a few animals - horse, dog, cow -
a few peasants, trees, sky, and water. Rarely does he sell a painting. Rarely does he have an exhibition
of his work. Is he unhappy? Is he filled with spite and envy?
Not in the least. On the contrary, he is so imbued with his mission
on earth - just to paint! - that he has taken to sleeping in his studio instead of going home to join
his family. He can't wait till morning comes and begin painting afresh. He loves what he does,
and he does it over and over again, like the variations of Bach.
In my opinion this is a successful artist, whether the world
acclaims him as such or not.


(Henry Miller, "Paint As You Like and Die Happy - 1965)


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Rosemary Quinn

HOW TO READ A POEM

First:
From a point of stillness,
Breathe. . .
Feel your feet.
Look out and see your audience. See, and feel again.

Second:
Caress!
You chose these words (or they chose you!),
So caress each one… They are your children.
Give them space. Respect.
Give them what they need.

Some want speed. Some, volume…
Each is unique.
Do not be steady and relentless (unless you want).

Third:
W o r d s are S o u n d s… and each has (and must have) a pitch…

Which pitch
will drop that word deep
in the listener’s ear?

Fourth:
Before you read:
Read your poem again and again,
over and over,
always aloud.
Poems are meant to be spoken.
We are in the oral tradition of storytellers,
ten thousand years around the fire.

Fifth:
Lay your poem on the page.
Adjust your line lengths, type size, punctuation.
Give yourself a road map to follow.

Six:
Let each reading be new.
You have your road map now. The directions are clearly written.
You can follow on the fly.
Now…Let go!

Depending on who is in the room…
and whether or not you had coffee
or a nap
or a good night’s sleep
or a fight with someone on the way over…

depending on whether your feet hurt or are comfortable in your shoes,
your waistband too tight or your slip too loose

depending on whether you are sure
you picked the right poems, or
whether the person before you was just too damn good

depending on the espresso squeal,
who just walked in,
the baby’s cry
the coughing …

FLY! ENJOY !
This is your moment! Breathe! Don’t miss it!

Seven:
Never lift your finger from the page—to do so is to court disaster.

Instead, slide it gently down the margin.
Lift your eyes to make contact,
and return, safely, to the proper line.

Eight:
DO NOT STEP ON THE LAUGHTER.
As the laughter dies,
Raise your voice and continue.

Nine:
Say Thank you . . .

Step back . . .
Take your applause.

Enjoy. . .
You do this for love.


October 2009 Chico, CA








Ed Coletti's Recent Instructions to Himself at Readings

I will repeat the initials SDS to myself at my readings:

S Smile. People will be more into me and my work.

D Read Dramatically to emphasize the importance of my words.

S Stare or look at my audience at the end of each poem
in order to let the full import Sink in.
(don't just shuffle through papers)


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